Saturday, June 30, 2018

Wonder Man

Travis Banton
(1894-1958).
Not all of those are born in Texas are cowboys, let's make this clear from the beginning. Since I do say the name of Travis Banton (1894-1958), the first thing that comes to your mind is ... Hollywood! (and its great golden age!). Like you had already guessed, today's blog is about one of the most important and well-known designers of the great stars of yesteryear (and of his creations that are to die for!). The place where Mr. Banton developed his passion for fashion was New York, there he studied and there he started his career. It was then that the "It" girl of the moment, Mary Pickford (like if we say Jennifer Lawrence today), gave him the opportunity to take off his talent by choosing one of his wedding dresses for her wedding. Then the sensual designs for the musicals of Ziegfeld Follies came (Broadway surrendered at his feet, and who does not?), and from there his way to the west coast was a matter of time, of little time.



Mr. Banton with Carole Lombard
and Claudette Colbert.
So in the mid-20s, the Paramount put a contract on the table to dress the big stars. This Texan did not think it twice and there he went to what would be a movie future. His exquisite designs made of delicate fabrics (where silk could not be missed, of course) dressed elegantly the bodies of actresses like Claudette Colbert, Gail Patrick, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich ... and more!, since Travis Banton is accredited in more than 250 movies. In the movies theaters, the women were enchanted not only by the rogue smile of Cary Grant, but also by the glamour that came off the screen. Those bias-cut dresses seemed inaccessible to the ordinary girls ("ah, who could have them!", they would think), and they kept dreaming. Movies like "Cleopatra" (1934), "Angel" (1937) or "Sangre y Arena" (1941) had the unmistakable stamp of Banton, his designs were treasured generation after generation by any self-respecting film lover.



Travis Banton and Marlene Dietrich.

Fifteen years later the shadow of Edith Head, who happened to be his assistant, was very long and the spiral of alcoholism in which he found himself caught put the icing for his hasty exit from the Paramount (insert sad face here). But the captivating dresses that moved to the beat of the greatest ones in Hollywood will be in our minds forever. Mr. Banton was a wonder man, definitely.

See you next week, vintage lovers!





Un Hombre Fenómeno

Travis Banton
(1894-1958)
No todos los que nacen en Texas son vaqueros, vamos a dejar claro esto desde el principio. Ya que si os digo el nombre de Travis Banton (1894-1958), lo primero que se os viene a la cabeza es… ¡Hollywood! (¡y su gran época dorada!). Así como ya habréis adivinado, el blog de hoy es sobre uno de los más importantes y conocidos diseñadores de las grandes estrellas de antaño (¡y de sus creaciones que son para morirse!). El lugar donde Mr. Banton desarrolló su pasión por la moda fue en Nueva York, allí estudió diseñó y allí comenzó su carrera. Fue entonces cuando la chica “It” del momento, Mary Pickford (como si decimos Jennifer Lawrence hoy en día), le brindó la oportunidad de despegar su talento al elegir uno de sus vestidos de novia para su boda. Luego vinieron los sensuales diseños para los musicales de Ziegfeld Follies (Broadway se rindió a sus pies, ¿y quién no?), y de ahí su camino a la costa oeste fue cuestión de tiempo, de poco tiempo.



Mr. Banton con Carole Lombard
y Claudette Colbert.
Así a mediados de los años 20, la Paramount le pusó sobre la mesa un contrato para vestir a las grandes estrellas. Este tejano no se lo pensó dos veces y allá se fue rumbo a lo que sería un futuro de película. Sus exquisitos diseños hechos de delicadas telas (donde la seda no podía faltar, por supuesto) vistieron elegantemente los cuerpos de actrices como Claudette Colbert, Gail Patrick, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich... ¡y más!, ya que Travis Banton está acreditado en más de 250 películas. En los cines, las mujeres se quedaban embelesadas no sólo por la pícara sonrisa de Cary Grant, sino también por el glamour que se desprendía en la pantalla. Aquellos vestidos de corte bias parecían inaccesibles para las chicas de a pie (“¡ah, quién pudiera!”, pensarían ellas), y seguían soñando. Películas como “Cleopatra” (1934), “Ángel” (1937) o “Sangre y Arena” (1941) llevaban el inconfundible sello de Banton, siendo sus diseños atesorados generación tras generación por cualquier amante del cine que se precie.



Travis Banton y Marlene Dietrich,

Quince años más tarde la sombra de Edith Head, quien pasaba por ser su asistente, era muy larga y la espiral de alcoholismo en la que se hallaba atrapado puso la guinda para su precipitada salida de la Paramount (insertar cara de tristeza aquí). Pero en nuestros mentes quedarán para siempre los cautivadores vestidos que se movían al compás de las más grandes de Hollywood. Mr. Banton era un hombre fenómeno, sin duda.


¡Os veo la semana que viene, amantes del vintage!




Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Long, Hot Summer

Mosaic (3rd century AD)
Villa Casale (Sicily)
.
Yes! We are already in summer! (my favorite season, by the way), it's time to soak in the sea, in the pool or wherever we like best! It's time to to put on lighter clothing and show off our beautiful bodies in the sun! (without complexes, ladies). So let's talk about the bikini, more exactly let's talk about the first bikini. Because ... Who would have the audacity to create something that would leave women practically naked in ... public? (Oh, my God!), And who would have the daring to wear it? If we start at the beginning, I will surprise you when I tell you that already in Roman times, and even further back, the concept of bikini appears as it is known today (impressed, right?, I told you). Images of women wearing a bra and panties are represented in several mosaics of the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., the best known ones are those of the Roman villa of Casale (Sicily).



Micheline Bernardini
and the first bikini (1946).
The modesty in dress at the time of taking a bath was gaining strength in the later centuries until a Frenchman (it seems that the French are always innovating in terms of fashion) thought that women needed something lighter to enjoy the summer and a good dip (wearing layers of clothes was not very comfortable, certainly). Well, this man, Louis Reard (1897-1984), what he did was to market the bikini, since the idea already existed of yesteryear. He needed a name for it, so it occurred to him to name it as the Bikini atoll located in the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, where the trials of the first atomic bomb took place just four days before the world presentation of his creation (there is something of metaphor in the chosen name, do not you think?). So it was the year 1946 when something was about to change the image of women in terms of bathing clothes, but there was some problem in the beginning, since no model was willing to be the first one to wear it and show it to the world . That was an audacity and none wanted to end up being stigmatized. But, as always, someone brave shows and decides to take the step. In this case, it was Micheline Bernardini who happened to be a stripper. So this great lady appeared wearing a bikini made of what looked like newspaper papers, and World went crazy.


Brigitte Bardot (1968)

It was quite a scandal during the following years, but it ended up being popularized definitively in the 60s. Actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe (always Marilyn) did it daily. The beaches began to be filled with women already liberated and openly (men were very happy too) and so on until today. It is the most valued garment to wear in the long, hot summers, and it seems that no two are the same. We can not finish without being grateful, ladies, so ... Thank you very much, Louis!

See you next week, vintage lovers!




El Largo y Cálido Verano

Mosaico siglo III dc
Villa Casale (Sicilia).
¡Sí! ¡Ya estamos en verano! (mi estación favorita, por cierto), ¡ya es la hora de remojarse en el mar, piscina o donde más a gusto nos plazca! ¡Ya es hora de aligerar de ropa y lucir nuestros hermosos cuerpos al sol! (sin complejos, señoras). Así que vamos a hablar del bikini, más exactamente vamos a hablar del primer bikini. Porque… ¿Quién tendría la osadía de crear algo que dejaría a la mujer prácticamente desnuda en… público? (¡oh, Dios mío!), y ¿quién tendría el atrevimiento para llevarlo? Si nos ponemos en los inicios, os voy a sorprender cuando os diga que ya en la época romana, e incluso más para atrás,  aparece el concepto de bikini como es conocido hoy en día (impresionados, ¿verdad. Os lo dije). Imágenes de mujeres llevando un sujetador y una braguita aparecen representadas en varios mosaicos de los siglos III y IV d.c., los más conocidos son los de la villa romana del Casale (Sicilia).


Micheline Bernardini 
y el primer bikini (1946)
El recato en la forma de vestir a la hora de tomarse un baño fue cogiendo fuerza en los siglos posteriores hasta que un francés (parece que los franceses siempre están innovando en cuanto a moda) pensó que las mujeres necesitaban algo más ligero para poder disfrutar del verano y un buen chapuzón (llevar capas de ropa no era muy cómodo, ciertamente). Pues así este hombre, Louis Reard (1897-1984), lo que hizo fue comercializar el bikini, puesto que la idea ya existía de antaño. Necesitaba un nombre para ello, así que se le ocurrió nombrarlo como el atolón Bikini ubicado en las islas Marshall, en el Océano Pacífico, donde tuvieron lugar los ensayos de la primera bomba atómica justo cuatro días antes de la presentación mundial de su creación (algo de metáfora hay en el nombre elegido, ¿no crees?). Así que fue el año 1946 cuando algo estaba a punto de cambiar la imagen de las mujeres en cuanto a la ropa de baño, pero hubo algún problema en el principio, ya que ninguna modelo estaba dispuesta a ser la primera en llevarlo y mostrarlo al mundo. Eso era una osadía y ninguna quería terminar siendo estigmatizada. Pero, como siempre, alguien valiente aparece y decide dar el paso. En este caso, fue Micheline Bernardini que pasaba por ser una stripper. Así esta estupenda señorita apareció llevando un bikini hecho con lo que parecía papeles de periódico, y el mundo enloqueció.


Brigitte Bardot (1968)
Fue todo un escándalo durante los años posteriores, pero terminó por popularizarse definitivamente en los años 60. Actrices como Brigitte Bardot y Marilyn Monroe (siempre Marilyn) lo hicieron cotidiano. Las playas empezaron a llenarse de mujeres ya liberadas y sin tapujos (los hombres estaban muy felices también) y así hasta nuestros días. Es la prenda más valorada para llevar en los largos y cálidos veranos, y parece que no hay dos iguales. No podemos terminar sin ser agradecidas, señoras, así que... ¡Muchas gracias, Louis!


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Breakfast with Chanel

LBD by Coco Chanel
Vogue (Octubre 1926).

I know you're thinking about that movie ... "Breakfast at Tiffany´s" (here a fervent fan of the wonderful Audrey Hepburn). And I also know that you are thinking about that unforgettable Little Black Dress (from now on it will be mentioned as LBD) designed by Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018). The scene of Miss Hepburn having breakfast in front of Tiffany's wearing that iconic dress has become part of our memory forever. Well, I'm starting to digress a lot, so let's go to the topic, since the main reason of this blog is not that LBD (ha, I caught you!), but the sketch designed by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883-1971) and it appeared on Vogue USA in October 1926. A date in the annals of the History of Fashion to remember.




Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
(1883-1971).
Although the color black had been used frequently in Victorian and Edwardian times for mourning dresses (and little more), Chanel arrived, dressed and won (almost like Julius Caesar) with this creation of China crepe (silk, of course), long and narrow sleeves, and a white pearls necklace that gave it a more chic touch! There she said Coco years later: "I imposed black; it's still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around." Certainly she can be considered as a visionary. She marked a before and an after in the world of La Mode, and almost a century later the LBD has been reinvented thousands and thousands of times (who does not have one in their closet?). Her proposal was very well received in those crazy 20s, since women were looking for a more liberated way of dressing than the demure previous decades. The LBD was just perfect for them. It was simple and affordable for all budgets, and it was, above all, elegant.



Audrey Hepburn in
"Breakfast at Tiffany´s" (1961)

And years later, Christian Dior (1905-1957) did nothing but corroborating that the LBD was necessary (yes, necessary) in every woman's wardrobe: "You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion; a 'little black frock' is essential to a woman's wardrobe." So to the present day and with Audrey Hepburn as the emblem (at least for me) of the little black dress. If you do not have one, you are still in time. And put on some pearls!


See you next week, vintage lovers!




Desayuno con Chanel

LBD por Coco Chanel
Vogue (Octubre 1926).

Sé que estáis pensando en esa película… “Desayuno con Diamantes” (aquí una ferviente admiradora de la maravillosa Audrey Hepburn). Y también sé que estáis pensando en ese inolvidable Little Black Dress (de ahora en adelante será mencionado como LBD) diseñado por Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018). La escena de Miss Hepburn desayunando delante de Tiffany´s en ese icónico vestido ha pasado a formar parte de nuestra memoria por siempre jamás. Bueno, estoy empezando a divagar mucho, así que vamos al tema,  ya que el motivo central de este blog no es ese LBD (¡ja, os pillé!), sino el boceto que diseñó Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) y que apareció en el Vogue USA en Octubre de 1926. Una fecha para recordar en los anales de la Historia de la Moda.




Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
(1883-1971).
Aunque el color negro se había usado con frecuencia en la época victoriana y eduardiana para los vestidos de luto (y poco más), Chanel llegó, vistió y venció (casi como Julio César) con esta creación de crepé de China (seda, por supuesto), mangas largas y estrechas, y un collar de perlas blancas que le daba ese toque… ¡chic! Ahí dijo Coco años más tarde: “ Yo impuse el negro. Todavía es un color fuerte hoy en día. El negro arrasa con todo lo que hay a su alrededor”. Ciertamente se la puede considerar una visionaria. Ella marcó un antes y un después en el mundo de la Mode, y casi un siglo más tarde el LBD se ha reinventado miles y miles de veces (¿quién no tiene uno en su armario?). Su propuesta fue muy bien recibido en esos locos años 20, ya que las mujeres estaban buscando una forma de vestir más liberada que las recatadas décadas anteriores. El LBD fue simplemente perfecto para ellas. Era sencillo y asequible para todos los bolsillos, y era, sobre todo, elegante.



Audrey Hepburn en
"Desayuno con Diamantes" (1961).

Y años más tarde, Christian Dior (1905-1957) no hizo sino corroborar que el LBD era necesario (sí, necesario) en el vestuario de cada mujer: “Puedes llevar negro a cualquier hora del día o de la noche, a cualquier edad y en cualquier ocasión. Un vestido negro es la cosa más esencial en el armario de una mujer”. Así hasta nuestro días y con Audrey Hepburn como emblema (al menos para una servidora) del pequeño vestido negro. Si no tienes uno… ¡siempre estás a tiempo! ¡Y ponte unas perlas!

¡Os veo la semana que viene, amantes del vintage!




Friday, June 15, 2018

The Slight Smile

Fall of 1981 (Paris, France). It was raining outside and she was sitting there in front of that painting, staring at it like if she expected it to return that faint smile. She leaned her body forward and rested her hand on her chin while she touched the long sleeves of her dress with the other. She seemed hypnotized by the painting that hung in front of her. Her hand slid down the buttons of her neckline and she frowned. "I've lost one," she thought. Then she remembered that she had another one in the motel room and she kept looking at that smile.

1980s blue night dress.
She had moved a few months ago to the other side of the sea to start over, since her small village had nothing to offer her. She traveled light, the most precious thing was that blue night dress she was wearing. She had seen it in Marks & Spencer and could not resist those prints on the fabric of the dress, they were like little tears that seemed to call her. So there she was, waiting. She did not know how much time had passed since she came in that room full of paintings, but it seemed endless and he did not show up. She hoped he had not gotten confused about the day or the time. Sometimes those things could happen. Sometimes. She smoothed the skirt of her dress slowly and her niveous fingers adjusted the belt slightly, emphasised her thin waist. She was starting to get nervous, she did not even look at that smile anymore. "Is not he going to show up?" She asked herself blushing. Her fingernails painted red touched lightly the pleated of the dress and brushed her breast. She pushed it up to show her knees and crossed her legs. Sighed.

She looked back at that mysterious smile for a second and turned her head towards the room like looking for something or someone. Tired of sitting, she got up strongly and she started circling around. Her heels made noise against the floor and that sound seemed to multiply in that place. There was no one else there, and if there was, she did not care. She stopped in front of a glass showcase and saw her reflection, and saw her dress that fit elegantly on her body. There she was contemplating her image for a while. She felt anger. He was not going to show up. I was sure of it. She went to the upholstered bench, picked up her purse and walked to the door. Her dress of little tears moved to the beat of her disappointment. And she never saw that smile again.